Nissan Taps Sirius XM For Emergency Support

Although Sirius XM is best-known as a purveyor of satellite radio, the company is moving to strengthen its relationships with carmakers -- now its most important channel for new subscription sales. It is offering additional products, including a variety of emergency support services.
In the latest such deal, Nissan has chosen Sirius XM to provide a number of services leveraging satellite communications, including round-the-clock emergency support for accidents, stolen vehicle tracking and roadside assistance.

Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin stated: “Offering telematics services is a logical next step for SiriusXM, building on our advanced in-vehicle technological capabilities, subscriber management expertise, and proven experience providing national service to drivers.”
In the future, Sirius XM may combine satellite-based telematics with traditional cellular-based telematics for expanded coverage, the company said.
The news comes as Sirius XM appears to face a takeover by Liberty Media, which increased its stake in the satcaster from 49.2% to 49.7% earlier this month.



In August, Liberty filed documents with the FCC saying that it intends to buy a controlling interest in the satcaster, provided that federal regulators sign off on the move. A previous application to take control was rejected by the FCC in May, at the satcaster’s urging, because it didn’t outline a plan that would give it control in sufficient detail.
In the second, more detailed filing, Liberty said it plans to buy enough stock to increase its stake to over 50% within 60 days of receiving permission from the FCC. Liberty also disclosed that it is planning to spin off its premium cable Starz TV business to raise cash to buy a controlling stake in Sirius XM.

Although Liberty still has not received FCC approval for the takeover, the purchase of more shares suggests the company is confident it will receive this approval in the near future. The FCC typically renders decisions within 90 days of the petition.
In February 2009, Liberty acquired considerable leverage over Sirius XM when it extended a $530 million loan to the satcaster, then in financial distress, in return for a 40% stake in the company. Liberty’s total stake in Sirius XM is now worth some $5 billion.

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